I wanted more from this.
Trying to figure out how to describe my feelings about this book has been challenging. I love the cover and the general plot and idea behind it, but the execution of the story left something to be desired.
Jeremiah is a professor who lives in a rented room above a bar owned by our main character, Alex’s grandmother. Alex has come to town hoping to do something different with her family’s bar, even if they disagree on what to do with it. Despite being a white guy (something Alex throws in his face several times), Jeremiah wants the bar to remain how it is, as it’s an important landmark for the community. Despite not being a part of it racially, he has a lot of respect for her family and the Mexican-American community he lives in. On the other hand, Alex outwardly says that she would willingly sell out the location and her culture if it led to the family making more money off the business.
This is such a weird book because parts of it were outstanding. As someone who lives in the Midwest, reading about the specific issues and history that ties the Mexican-American experience to the Midwest was great, and the author did an awesome job in that regard. Learning about the culture presented in this novel was very interesting, and I loved all the cultural references and the family’s sense of pride in their history.
However, I could not love this novel because of Alex’s character. I understand her motives and appreciate her personality and how it connects to her generational and familial trauma, but she was insufferable. Her romance with Jeremiah was cute, even if I feel like he was presented as a bit dimensional, but her first interaction with him basically leads to harassment and touching without consent. It’s weird and feels very oddly placed in this book, to be honest, and it immediately made me side-eye Alex as a character. I just couldn’t find myself warming to her after that initial introduction, and though she does grow and change, the shift wasn’t dramatic enough for me to care. Other reviews have mentioned that she grows as a character by the end, which is entirely true, but by the time we got to the happy ending romance, I was already over her as a character and wishing for the book to end.
Also, Jeremiah is described as being tall as hell, over a head taller than Alex, and Alex is described as heavily tattooed and curvy. I loved this, but I wish these characteristics were more obviously reflected in the cover art.
Title: After Hours on Milgaro Street
Author: Angelina M. Lopez
Three Descriptors: Steamy, Up and Down, Engaging,
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